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Parquet plays: Kemba Walker and the double high screen

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Boston tried to get their All-Star point guard some easy looks to start the game.

Boston Celtics v Philadelphia 76ers Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images

We’re introducing this new feature at CelticsBlog where we go over a single play from the night’s game. It’s a chance for us to nerd out over Brad Stevens’ X’s and O’s and deep dive into how he utilizes his personnel to attack opposing defenses and stop the best players in the league.

Under Doc Rivers, the 76ers have been playing less drop coverage against pick-and-rolls. That means Joel Embiid and Dwight Howard not backpedaling below the break but hanging around above the free throw line. That’s helped Philly establish the NBA’s third best defense, allowing a 36.1 3FG% (10th in the league).

To counteract that defense, Stevens went to a double screen to get his point guard going to start. In Kemba Walker’s second game back from a stem cell injection in his knee, he hit 5-of-9 from behind the arc, including two in the first quarter. Here’s his first:

It’s a quick simple action. The read is entirely Kemba’s. With Tristan Thompson and Grant Williams setting screens way above the three-point line, Walker can choose which side to attack. Walker is one of the best pull up shooters in the league. With Embiid farther back (and frankly, unaware) than Tobias Harris, it’s easy pickings. Had Philly sniffed it out, Walker has options. With Thompson rolling and Williams popping, he can pick whichever player gets open on the 3-on-2.

Against a bigger team, you have to play to your strengths and eliminate theirs. On offense, the Celtics won’t be able to overpower the Sixers in the paint, but if they can generate quick hitters and attack the perimeter with their shooting and athleticism on the wings (just wait until Jayson Tatum is back), that will spell trouble for slower defenses.